“If you’re a guy in your 20s and you don’t have a Lamborghini, you should actually sit down and have a serious discussion with yourself”—a clip of these words from 24-year-old Sebastian Ghiorgiu went viral in January, sparking an enormous backlash from across the internet.
Reactions ranged from the mildly offended to the epitome of outrage, as netizens lamented the comment’s implications during a cost of living crisis and a period of soaring inflation.
Influencers and others online who claim they are self-made and preach it’s easy to buy a mansion before you hit 30 are often subject to the same criticism—they had help.
Whether it was from wealthy relatives, a healthy dose of nepotism or even winning the lottery, social media sleuths love to point out that there’s always a catch.
bro these people can’t be real pic.twitter.com/iZkEKR2iKn— Hurt CoPain (@SaeedDiCaprio) January 22, 2023
Ghiorgiu’s sudden virality similarly led to widespread speculation about whether he really was a “self-made” millionaire as he claimed to be, and whether the financial advice videos he posts to his more than 866,000 subscribers on YouTube are authentic.
Now the influencer and entrepreneur has come to his own defense.
“It’s not who I am”
Speaking to Fortune, Ghiorgiu explained that his background is actually anything but glamorous.
“Anything that they’re thinking about me is wrong,” he said. “Daddy’s money, wrong. Privileged, wrong. Like this guy’s arrogant, or whatever. Wrong. All that stuff is just not who I am.”
His parents immigrated to the United States from Romania in the 1980s, and he grew up in Detroit in what he describes as an “extremely small” apartment where he shared a room with his two brothers; his mom and his sister shared another room.
He recalled that his mother had food stamps, and that they’d make trips to the food bank: “A cereal that cost $2.50 or $3 was a luxury to me. So the day she got a coupon for Cinnamon Toast Crunch was a happy day for Sebastian.
“When we finally did move out, the only reason we were able to get a house is because our church put together a fund.”
Sometimes, he says, the family would go long periods without electricity because they couldn’t afford the bills.
Determined to move forward, Ghiorgiu told Fortune, he initially enrolled in a nursing program but quit after two weeks.
“I dropped out because I discovered someone on YouTube.”
Ghiorgiu was inspired by a finance YouTuber and instead pursued a real estate license, which he got at the age of 18.
This venture was also short-lived and replaced by dropshipping, a form of retail business where the seller accepts orders from customers without keeping stock on hand.
How much does Sebastian Ghiorgiu make?
Fast-forward to the present day and Ghiorgiu has multiple sources of income beyond dropshipping. They include investments, his YouTube channel and his digital marketing agency, he says.
At least “half a million” of his earnings have gone on cars, including a Lamborghini, although he said he usually prefers to splash out on travel or treating his family—he says he bought his mom a brand new Porsche and took his whole family to Hawaii last year.
He now makes, on average, around $400,000 a month, he told Fortune, but claimed that he made around $1 million in October 2022, and more the following month.
Does that mean it really is “easy” to make enough to buy a sports car at such a young age? Did the young millionaire really mean what he said?
The truth is: no. Ghiorgiu admitted he intended that clip to go viral.
He stuck by his claim that getting $200,000 is not difficult—specifically, he said, when you get into the world of online business and dropshipping.
Among people who make money that way, there are far bigger figures involved, he says.
But getting to the point where it becomes easy is the hard part.
Ghiorgiu says he puts in a huge amount of time and effort, and that he’s “always working,” even at weekends, although he breaks up his time by going to the gym or seeing friends.
Then there’s the condition—you do need to have a spare $2,000 available to you to kick off your enterprise in the first place.
Ghiorgiu understands that plenty of people do not have access to that amount, but he maintains it’s possible to get there.
“If you don’t have that money to spare, I hope that you’re not spending money on alcohol. I hope that you’re not going out to eat at any restaurants, I hope that you’re buying food from Costco and cooking in bulk to save money there. I hope that you’re not living above your means in any way. I hope you don’t have any Gucci bags that you bought, I hope you don’t have anything lavish.
“If you’re making poor financial decisions, and you don’t have two grand to invest into a business to make your life better. That is your own problem. And you need to figure that out.
“If you’re not, I don’t see that you’re taking every single measure to save as much as you can for that stockpile, then you can’t complain.”
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